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Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

£89.00
design
sound quality
feature
performance

4.1

5

Overall

If you're an outdoors-y type with a bunch of mates who want great music al fresco, this is certainly your best bet. Even if you're not, the UE Boom 2 is an incredible wireless speaker.

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Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Price History

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Sam Applegate

23rd August 2014

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


The UE Boom is awesome. The Ultimate Ears brand team have understood something about wireless speakers that a number of their competitors haven't managed to grasp: they need to be genuinely portable. They have to be able to go out into the real world, with all of its muck, grime and the ever-present danger of water splashing around and do more than just survive. It's a jungle out there. Packing a punch that even bigger and more expensive beasts will be wary of, the Ultimate Ears Boom is at the top of the tree.

Hear Me Roar

The reason for that is simple. Where you go, it can go. Principally, Ultimate Ears plasma-coated the Boom so that's water resistant. Short of dropping it in the pool -which I wouldn't recommend - the Boom shakes out its coat and roars whenever it gets wet. Metaphorically speaking, of course. The unit's designed so that grit and dust can't get into it, so that you can use it on the beach without being petrified that your expensive gadget is living on borrowed time. They've built the Boom so that you can use it in a wide array of circumstances, too; there's a D-ring on top that you can use to hang it from a hook or onto a tent. You could happily take the Boom to a festival and it'd serve you with aplomb... Just make sure that it doesn't get nicked.

That same vertical positioning also means that it offers far better 360 degree sound than many of its competitors, which backs up UE's claim that the Boom is a social device rather than one intended just for individuals. Indeed, the tubular shape means that you could even pop it into a bike bottle holder and play as you go. Frankly you'd be a bit of an ass to do so, but you get the picture. This thing is brave, bold and versatile in a way that other wireless speakers aren't.

The build quality feels tough enough to live up to its bravado, though I haven't tried to push its resilience to the limit by throwing it around.

Not A House Cat

Not for the Ultimate Ears Boom the cool, metallic hues of a Bose or Denon that looks best suited to sitting primly on a bedside cabinet. Instead customers can choose from an array of sometimes explosive colours, finished in plastic and silicon. The upright design alluded to earlier is pretty distinctive, too. It looks like a sprinter's relay baton, or a tiny obelisk, full of promise. It simply doesn't look like a radio or conventional speakers. The Boom will work adequately if it's positioned on its side, but you'll be losing a lot of the sound by doing so. Stand it up right, mount in on a tripod or hang it somewhere and you'll get the best out of it.

As you'd expect for a speaker that costs more than £100, the sound quality is good. Perhaps not as fine as some of its more sedentary rivals, but it's definitely up to scratch. What's more - and this can't be said of the Jawbone Jambox, for example - is that, as its name would imply, the Ultimate Ears Boom is LOUD. It thumps out sound with the gusto you need in outdoor environments and distortion doesn't seem to be an issue. The only criticism that you can throw at it is that the bass it produces doesn't pulsate through the air, but that's a problem that commonly affects standalone speakers.

Connectivity And Ease of Use

Through their free app, Ultimate Ears have also made it so that you can pair up Boom speakers together to get a true stereo left/right sound. Great if you've got a buddy with the another Boom. The app is a nice touch, though it could be a bit more detailed. Once you've got it on your smartphone you can rename your device, check battery charge, and change the equalisation settings according to the music and the setting. Perhaps it's greedy to say so, but it does feel like this is an area that the Ultimate Ears Boom could be improved with a bit more effort to provide greater user control.

Bluetooth connectivity is simple and reliable, with UE claiming connection distances of up to fifty feet. Powerful as the Ultimate Ears Boom is, playing it from that distance seems a bit pointless, but the fact remains that you'll be able to link up with the Boom from afar. It'll remember up to 8 devices and try to connect to the most recent one when it can. There's also a 3.5mm cable jack so that you can go analogue if you wish, but there's no cord provided as part of the package. There's NFC technology included, too. Finally, Ultimate Ears have also built a microphone into the unit so that it can act as a speaker phone, eliminating the need for fiddly swapping about on your mobile.

Charging is done by a micro USB slot, with the provided cable and charger or with another compatible device if you don't have it to hand. UE claim a battery life of fifteen hours, but if you have it at anything like full volume, expect that to tumble down to between 4 to 7 hours, which is still pretty respectable for something as energetic as the Boom. You're able to check the battery without your phone by holding both of the two volume buttons down simultaneously, which prompts a voice to tell you how much spark remains in the battery.

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To read more on this model, check out the Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Pair up to 8 Bluetooth enabled source devices - Connect up to two source devices at the same time.
  • Wirelessly play (stream) to 2 UE BOOMs from one Source.
  • Mobile range of play is up to 15m (50 ft).
  • Maximum Sound Level: 88dBA
  • Frequency Range: 90Hz - 20kHz
  • Drivers: Two 1.5", 4 Ohm Drivers; Two 2" Passive Radiators
  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery for up to 15 hours of battery life between Micro USB charges.

Model

Dimensions (cm)

Power (w)

Rating

Price

Bose Soundlink

35.6 X 25.4 X 12.7

N/a

£N/A

Bose Soundlink Mini II

5.8 X 18 X 5.1

N/a

£139.00

Bose SoundLink Revolve

18.4 H X 10.5 W X 10.5 D

-

£179.95

Cambridge Audio Minx GO

23.7 X 6.3 X 12.3

N/a

£N/A

Google Home

23.6 X 12.8 X 12.6

-

£119.00

Jawbone Jambox

15.2 X 5.8 X 5.8

15

£92.99

JBL Flip 2

16 X 6.5 X 6.5

6

£N/A

JBL Flip 4

6.8 X 17.5 X 7.0 Cm

2 X 8 W

£87.19

JBL Pulse

20 X 10 X 10

12

£N/A

Sonos Play 1

11 X 11 X 16

60

£149.00

Sony HT-CT60BT

94 X 8.3 X 7

60

£N/A

Sony SRS BTM8

18.5 X 8.8 X 24.5

4

£89.99

UE MEGABOOM

22.6 H X 8.3 W

-

£145.90

UE WONDERBOOM

10.2 H X 9.35 W

-

£59.90

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2

6.7 X 6.7 X 18

9

£89.00


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